The difference between “Black” and the color “black”



Sabrina Conway compares the color black and Black people.

Sabrina Conway, Guest Columnist

Have you ever thought about the differences in associations with respect to colors? The color white is associated with “purity” and “virginity.” On the other hand, the color black is associated with “negativity” and “evil.”

Why? Who formed that belief? Now, think about these colors with respect to racial groups. Are all “white” people pure and holy? Are all “Black” people evil and rebellious? No, they are not. For the purpose of this article, I would like to focus on the associations of “black” meaning the color, and “Black,” the race. More often than not, the race is automatically judged as “impure” in many situations. Why? Where did that originate? In Black history, Black people were automatically judged negatively based on the mere color of their skin. Sadly, this idea is still common in today’s society. Here are three examples to illustrate this point.

First, let us begin with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During his fight for equality, many racist, white people regarded him as an “extremist” and “too radical.” Never once did these same groups of people realize the true meaning of the missions, efforts and sacrifices that Dr. King put forth in order to gain social recognition. Back then, Dr. King was associated with being “rebellious” or “crazy,” and was capitalized for his errors rather than his achievements.

Secondly, I want to use the example of the late George Floyd. For those who may not know of Mr. Floyd, he was the man that died in Minnesota police custody by way of a knee on the neck for nine and a half minutes. When the story first gained publicity, there was a video that went viral on social media capturing the incident. As time passed, the public grew to learn that a convenience store called the police on Mr. Floyd because he purchased some items with a counterfeit $20 bill. Unsurprisingly, once the cause of the police aired, many people used that to justify Mr. Floyd’s death. For example, on March 25, 2021, CNN aired the article “A printout of George Floyd’s toxicology report was found on a Black History display at Duke University, insinuating that he deserved to die.” According to the article, the flyer read, “Mix of drugs presents in difficulty breathing! Overdose? Good Man? Use of fake currency is a felony!” From this, it is clear that Mr. Floyd’s errors were capitalized rather than the wrongdoing that was inflicted upon him.

Lastly, I want to present the shooting incident that occurred on the College Hill, Cedar Falls. On Sunday, April 4, 2021, all UNI faculty, students and families were notified about the shots that were fired in front of Little Bigs. Those who received a text notification were notified with quick, physical description that could assist the officers find the suspects. Within this abbreviated description, the officials mentioned that the suspects were Black males wearing red and black. Did they have to mention the race of the suspects? In contrast, whenever the school sends alerts about the other incidents, the suspect’s race is not involved. Even worse, on Monday, April 5, 2021, a story was developed into an article for the Northern Iowan, highlighting that the “Black male suspects wearing red and black clothing” were the suspects in question.

In conclusion, Black people are often judged based on the color of their skin. For reasons unknown, and for many years, Black people have been associated more with violence and evils way more than positivity.